Category Archives: Abstract Landscape Paintings

Romantic Painter

I am a romantic painter. I have found definitions of “romantic” such as  a sensibility; primitivism; love of nature; sympathetic interest in the past, especially the medieval; mysticism; individualism.

I am also sentimental. Webster defines someone who is sentimental as a person excessively prone to feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia.

That brings me to nostalgia. I am nostalgic and find myself attracted to the Irish notion of a gentle melancholy that permeates life. While I reflect on Ireland and my Irish paintings, I am also thinking about why I am drawn to certain subjects, places, or ideas.

Such thoughts drew me to one of the first paintings that I ever did. I was on a painting retreat in France with no experience at all. Each day we would be driven to some exquisite location to paint. We would arrive and scatter, painting whatever we were drawn to. One could have chosen a lovely view, goats, a forest and other people.

Ruins was done by romantic painter Ann Hart Marquis

Ruins, acrylic on canvas, 11×14 inches.

I wandered around and found a three story 19th century home that was in ruins. What happened to this house, I wondered. Why didn’t this seemingly once lovely place undergo repairs? What was its story? Of course, that was what I decided to paint.

I have learned that I am drawn to emotions and events that I perceive may exist or have existed. That is one reason that I am drawn to Ireland and spent so many years in France. I was and am enchanted by the history, the way people lived, the myths, the beauty of both structures and raw nature.

I think that the classical definition of all of the above can be summarized to this description:

The Romantic embodied “a new and restless spirit, seeking to burst through old and cramping forms, a nervous preoccupation with perpetually changing inner states of consciousness, a longing for the unbounded and the indefinable, for perpetual movement and change, an effort to return to the forgotten sources of life, a passionate individual effort at self-assertion, a search after means of expressing an unappeasable yearning for unattainable goals.

I especially like the part about unappeasable yearning for unattainable goals. If I ever get a clear idea of what those goals are, I will let you know.

 

Painting from Imagination

Since I returned from Ireland I been painting from imagination. I keep looking at photos of the trip, and they are lovely, but they are not really inspiring me to use one for a subject for a painting.

I seem to be drawn to scenes, memories, senses and sensations from the trip. I see colors in my mind and I see shapes and images. Sometimes I just see layers of images that I can’t separate.

Since the trip, although my paintings are abstract landscape paintings, my first three paintings contained scenes or some shapes that were easily recognizable like a cliff or an ocean setting. This time I wanted to do something different.

Ann Hart Marquis shows Given to Exaggerated Wonder painting from imagination

Given to Exaggerated Wonder, acrylic on canvas 24x30x1.5 inches.

I usually draw very little before I paint. I didn’t draw at all on this painting. It developed by first deciding on my palette, preparing a canvas with black gesso and then when that dried, I just started letting shapes and colors come from my imagination.

I was also using Golden Open gloss medium mixed with paint which allowed me to drag one color into another before they dried to form bands of color. In other words I was painting wet-on-wet.

I started at the bottom with darker blues and greens and then worked my way to the top letting the colors become lighter as I ascended. What a fun way to paint! I just kept a vision of Ireland in my mind. The memories and feelings both consciously and unconsciously informed what I was painting.

I was painting in a new way and it felt very creative. In my next painting that I will start on Monday, I will try it againpainting from imagination.

I like this quote that I found about creativity:
“Even those of us not in explicitly creative fields must come up with new ideas and insights in order to move ahead. How can we shake up the way we think? Creativity has been pegged to conducive environments, perfect collaborators, personality traits, serendipity, and even spiritual muses. While research psychologists are interested in increasing innovative thinking, clinical psychologists sometimes encourage patients to use artistic expression as a way to confront difficult feelings.”

My Artist Muse

Yesterday I finished a painting that I had been working on for some time. So today the question was what should I paint next? I have been primarily working on medium-large canvases, 24×30-inches. It takes me about a week to finish this size painting if I get to the studio almost every day.

Today I felt some pressure to think of what I wanted to paint next. It does not work very well if I am feeling pressure when I paint. And I had no inspiration for the next painting.

So instead of starting on another large canvas that would take some planning, or at least giving some thought to an image, I followed by friend Dotty’s example to do a small format painting in a day. It actually took me less than an hour and I am happy with the results.

Ann Hart Marquis-How artist muse helped create My Mind's Desire

My Mind’s Desire, acrylic on canvas panel, 8×6-inches.

There was certainly no pressure involved. My process included finding a sample of coarse molding paste, letting it dry, having some lunch, then going back to my canvas. I then applied random paints that were in the same palette as my last painting and very loosely applying them.

So this brings me to thinking again about inspiration, motivation and the muse. By the way, I don’t think I have an artistic muse. Unless I think of the word as a verb: chew over, contemplate, excogitate, meditate, mull, mull over, ponder, reflect, ruminate, speculate, think over.

 I do sometimes need to wait for inspiration. I have been thinking a lot about how I get inspired to paint a certain scene. I think that it comes down to thinking about a place I have been or perhaps looking at a photo of a place that brings forth some kind of feeling in me.

It also may involve including some sort of paint or medium that I have not used for a long time or maybe never—like coarse molding paste.

So I have been contemplating, mulling over and reflecting what I will do next. It may be a larger version of the one above. I am still pondering, but with no pressure.

Do you ever feel pressure to be creative? Do you have a muse?